Braves New World

Well, the stone dropped in the NL East water, still rippling from the signing of Pedro by the Mets, is quickly followed by another.

As the Mets were ushering in the Pedro Period, their biggest rivals, the Atlanta Braves, were pulling off a coup of their own, trading for Oakland pitcher Tim Hudson.

Hudson, 29, has been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball over the last five seasons. His 81 wins from 2000 to 2004 tied for the most in the American League and tied for fifth among all big-league pitchers. Hudson owns a 92-39 career record with a 3.30 ERA. His .702 career winning percentage ranks third in Major League history among pitchers with at least 100 career decisions.

It was Atlanta's second big trade in a week. Last Saturday, the Braves acquired All-Star closer Dan Kolb from Milwaukee -- which allowed them to move John Smoltz back into the rotation. Now they've got a rotation of Hudson, Smoltz, John Thomson, Mike Hampton and Horacio Ramirez, certainly on par if not even more formidable than the Mets starting rotation of Pedro, Glavine, Trachsel, Benson and Zambrano.

And let's not forget, the Braves recently acquired a All Star closer from the Brewers, rightie Dan Kolb. Although the Mets have a closer, they haven't much else in the pen, a distinct weakness that needs fixing quickly.

In the meantime, the Omar Eyes Bats to add some ooomph to the Mets weak and ineffective batting order. The Mets are waiting on an offer to first baseman Carlos Delgado and have also offered a contract to outfielder Moises Alou.

Nothing is solid yet though - several teams are interested in Delgado and the Mets would probably have to pay a similar contract of about $60 million that they did for Pedro. That's alot of cash to sink in to two players but it would speak volumes about how serious they are about winning their division.

One thing in their favour was the Pedro signing. Omar Minaya revealed yesterday that since Martinez signed, the GM has received calls from other players with interest in coming aboard as well. Martinez then announced that he's happy to help with the recruiting.

Another thing he appears to be happy about is being Mike Piazza's teammate. For the time being, anyway. With all the optimism and love in the air at yesterday's press conference, it isn't suprising that Pedro and Piazza are now "family" despite their bad history. They are, after all, former Dodger teammates.

"It is resolved already, because he's my teammate," Martinez said at his press conference yesterday.

"And whatever happens before when we were not teammates or whatever — whatever words were said — have to be forgotten the first moment I became a teammate.

"He's now my family."

Well, let's hope so. Every day it looks more like Mike Piazza is staying and not only that, worse still, catching for the Mets, so it looks now that the future is now.

The Mets other main competition, the Phillies have changed managers but still have the same stale players.

And by the way, listening to Pedro talk on WFAN via the internet this morning, it's nice to hear his swagger for the Mets. We needed more players who refer to themselves in the third person. The best part though, was making the Maddog fumble for words, drowning in his own stupidity, when Pedro turned the tables on him and asked him how many quality starts he had last season in response to Maddog questioning Pedro's stats starting every 4th day as opposed to every 5th day. Pedro handled Mike and the Maddog like the negative little muppets they are and you've gotta love him already.

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